White bean, roasted red pepper, tomato risotto

White bean tomato risotto

Yesterday, for no reason in particular, I started singing Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend while I was making dinner. I get stupid songs in my head all the time, and I usually can’t stop myself from singing them. Isaac was very upset! I was surprised by his reaction, and tried to laugh it off. I told him what a silly song it was. Or that it was about David’s childhood dog, named Diamond. And then we talked about other things, and I thought he’d forgotten. On the way to school on this drizzly fall morning Isaac said, “Diamonds are not a girl’s best friend!” Very emphatically. No, they’re not, I said. And then he said, “A girl’s best friend is a son!” And I laughed and said, sure it is! And then he started singing a song, “A Claire’s best friend is an Isaac, and a dog, and a Malcolm, and a daddy, and her house, and her land.” (Heh heh, my land! My acres and acres of land!) He’s right, of course! Being a crazy mom, a little whirlwind of reactions spiraled around my head. I’m glad he believes that! I like his anti-capitalist leanings (quite out of proportion with his acquisitive instinct around a toy aisle). I’m worried that he’s worried about money. Have we told him one-too-many times that we can’t afford a certain toy? Mostly I’m proud that he’s such a wise six-year-old, and grateful that he cheered me up. I’ve been in a blue funk lately about my inability to contribute much to the constant struggle to keep our heads above water, financially. It’s David’s birthday today, and I’m sad that I can’t give him something nice. But I’m making him dinner, and I hope he’ll like it, and I’m happy to be doing it! Happy to be thinking about foods he likes, happy to be thinking how lucky I am that he’ll try all my crazy meals, happy to be thinking about all the meals we’ve had together over the years, and the way our tastes have evolved together. Happy to spend a rainy day in a warm and fragrant kitchen, making food to feed someone I love.

Last night, on David’s Birthday Eve, we had this risotto. It’s a nice meal for a chilly fall day, when you still have piles of tomatoes tumbling off your counter. I realized, yesterday, that I’ve never had a risotto with beans in it. Which seems surprising, because rice and beans are so perfect together. I think of tomatoes, roasted reds, olives and white beans as being something of a classic combination. So I cooked it with arborio rice, and left it nice and warm and brothy.

Here’s Louis Armstrong with I Can’t Give You Anything But Love

1 cup arborio rice
6 – 8 cups vegetable broth, made with shallots, garlic, carrots, a handful of french lentils, a few mushrooms, a few lettuce leaves, a splash of tamari, a spoonful of marmite, and whatever else you have on hand.
2 T butter
1 shallot – minced
2 t rosemary
2 cloves garlic – minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup olives, pitted and chopped (I used kalamata)
4 ripe medium-sized tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 large red pepper, roasted, skins removed, seeds removed, chopped
salt and plenty of pepper
small handful fresh basil, chopped
1 T butter
splash basamic

In a large frying pan, melt the butter. When it’s bubbly, add the shallots, cook for a minute, then add the garlic and rosemary. Add the rice, stir to coat. When everything seems to be turning brown, after a few mintues, add the wine. Stir and cook until the wine is thick and syrupy. Add 1/2 – 1 cup broth. Stir and cook till it’s absorbed, add another 1/2 – 1 cup broth. and the pepper and olives. Stir and cook till the broth is absorbed. After about two more additions of broth, stir in the tomatoes, and cook till their juice is absorbed.

Keep adding broth and cooking till it’s absorbed until the rice is as cooked as you like it. 20 minutes to half an hour usually does it. At that point you can either add more broth, so it’s a bit soupy, which is how I like it, or let the broth cook off so you have more of a porrige-like consistency. Either way, season well, and stir in the butter, balsamic and basil. You could top this with grated parmesan or some other hard salty cheese, if you liked.

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6 thoughts on “White bean, roasted red pepper, tomato risotto

  1. Happy birthday, David – I can’t wait to hear what you’ll all be eating tonight! And how lucky you both are to have a sweet, caring, empathetic son like Isaac. (And Malcolm too of course.) Have a great day. I do love Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend though. xxx

      • I don’t know, tfd…
        But, it’s a bouncy bit of entertainment for them all to jump around to, none the less.

        David and Claire, do you know John Otway?
        (he’s ace, odd, and a lot of fun – if you don’t know about him)

      • Um…no? I’m not sure. Sounds familiar…

        Everyone’s asleep, so we can’t listen to the song now, but I’ll wake the boys up with it in the morning!!

        Thanks, kids!

  2. Pingback: Beer-battered, cheese-filled risotto croquettes | Out of the Ordinary

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